Double Check! It’ll Save Your Neck!

By: Katie MacKenzie, Project Coordinator

I’ve recently begun working with a client whose campaign reporting figures are…well….how to put it nicely….never accurate. And, I don’t mean a mistake here or there, every campaign update report we receive has multiple errors and each time I receive the report, it takes me quite a bit of time to reconcile the numbers to make sure that they are indeed correct . At least it provides me with some job security!

I get it, we are all human and we all make mistakes.  Goodness knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself so it isn’t that I am trying to be too harsh on this particular client. The reason I bring this up is because I’ve seen it happen all too often with other clients as well.  While some people feel this may not always be a big deal – especially if the job environment in which you work is a little more relaxed – sometimes a mistake or two or twenty can lead to dire consequences. For example, the issue for this particular client is that the co-chair of their campaign knows there are oftentimes mistakes and has recently considered stepping away from the campaign due to a lack of accuracy in the numbers and faith in the organizational and reporting skills of the Development Director.  Yikes.

I had another client recently who  mis-reported a “total raised” number to their campaign committee.  This wasn’t a mistake of $1,000 give or take – it was a six-figure mistake, and a costly one. Unfortunately that was the beginning of the end and, along with a list of other factors, ultimately caused this person to no-longer be working with the organization.

While the following 3 points of advice might seem like common sense, it is always a good reminder to double check your work!

1) Double-check or even triple-check your reports.

We’re all human, we all make mistakes, but errors, especially when it comes to campaign figures, can sometimes have       disastrous effects. Double checking your work only requires an extra few minutes of your time versus having to re-work something that ends up being incorrect, leads to you being scolded by a boss, or worse – losing the faith of the committee or your employer in your skills as a professional.

2) Bring in the good ole peer-review system.

At a previous job where I worked with many different financial statements and reports, we had a peer-review system. We reviewed our work ourselves, had a co-worker review it and finally had the boss review it for final approval before it went out the door. While this was tedious at times and could be frustrating when we really needed to get reports “off our desk” so we could move on to other tasks, it led to an impeccable accuracy in all of our reporting numbers and rarely, if ever, was there a mistake. Sometimes it’s good to get a second or third set of eyes to review your work.

3) Slow down!!!

As Development officers, it is hard sometimes not to rush through a call report, a numbers report or any other type of deliverable. But, when we rush, that is when most mistakes are made. Take a minute to make sure you are focusing on the task at hand and truly putting forth your best effort and concentration into your work to ensure that it is accurate.